School of Life Sciences Pharmacy


This is a student project. Therefore, neither the student nor Kingston University makes any warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the data or conclusion of the work performed in the project and will not be held responsible for any consequences arising out of any inaccuracies or omissions therein.

Utility of direct to consumer genetic tests for sports performance What tests are being used? what they claim to do? what genes they look at? And how they link to Sports performance. its usefulness? Genetic tests (get some gene names and have a look at how this may work and what they do) What kinfs of tests they do? What genes? gentetic variance and what they claim to do? (backup with research) (maybe create a table with names of tests and what they test and critically evaluate each of them). Define the Disso Question and maybe make it more specific (otherwise it is too broad) below are some links I looked at that might be helpful. statement from the Australian Institute of Sport, on the ethics of genetic testing and research in sport: for ‘bite-size’ explanations of genes, genomes etc and the implications of genetic knowledge for human health and society.

Whatsapp (lay out of disso) (for help with how to set out Disso)

Doing a systematic review

It is very important that you establish a hypothesis or a research question to answer early on the project period. You are expected to use the same time period as laboratory and data project students to read research papers and analyse data which will be time consuming.

Systematic reviews must include:

  • Formulation of a hypothesis or research question
  • Development of a literature search strategy with appropriate inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • Critical evaluation and analysis of qualitative and (if possible) quantitative information and original presentation of data that addresses the hypothesis or research question. You are aiming to analyse data from research papers in order to produce new information and data. You should not be scanning tables and figures from research papers and presenting them as your data.Simple reporting of the literature does not indicate understanding and is insufficient to obtain a good grade. Interpretation and critical evaluation of the literature indicates understanding and will be rewarded with marks. Further guidance will be given to you in the systematics review lecture.

Things to think about when planning your project

What is the evidence-based justification (rationale) of your research project? It is advised that this section is written early in the project as it will form the basis of your introduction.

What is the research question that you will answer or the hypothesis that you will test?

What are your inclusion and exclusion criteria? Which search criteria and sources (databases, reviews, grey literature) will you use? What are the key references?

What are your search terms? Keep a diary with dated entries of your progress and activities. It is particularly important that you note the date that you carry out searches of relevant research papers, and the number of hits per search terms. What type of statistical analysis will you need to use (if required)? Do not leave analysis of data to the end of the project. Analyse your data as you collect it as this will help you with the progress of the project and the structure of the discussion. How will you timetable your time? Doing a systematic review project can take longer than you think because it takes time to search databases and then read and analyse the research papers.

Once you have selected an initial topic, the next step is to develop research questions. You'll do this by using probing questions, such as what, why, when, how, would/could, should. Phrasing your topic in the form of questions helps direct the research process. WHAT questions focus on a particular aspect of the topic: What is the driving force behind the popularity of video games? WHY questions ask for an explanation of something--why something happened, why it did not happen, or why one thing is better than another. For instance, why are video games so popular among young teenage boys? WHEN questions focus on timing or history. When did video games start to become popular? When were video games invented? WHERE questions focus the topic on a location, either geographical or other. Where, or in which countries, are video games most popular? HOW questions focus aspects of the topic, on a process, or on the origin. How do video games affect users?

WOULD / COULD questions focus on possibilities. Would video games be more popular with teenage girls if marketing targeted girls? SHOULD questions focus on the appropriateness of a particular action, policy, procedure, or decision. Should the government regulate violent video games?

Module Learning Outcomes Assessed:

  • devise, develop and implement a plan of research;
  • critically evaluate, analyse and present qualitative and quantitative information and data that addresses a hypothesis or research question;
  • prepare a structured, critical evaluation of a research topic in the form of a written report;
  • demonstrate a thorough knowledge of a selected research topic both orally and in writing;
  • demonstrate key communication (written and oral), problem-solving, time management and appropriate ICT skills. Students will be expected to demonstrate independent learning skills throughout the course of the module. Numeracy skills will also be required to successfully acquire, manipulate and evaluate data;
  • evaluate risk, ethics and health and safety in relation to research projects.

Assignment Brief
Report (80% of the module mark)

You are required to produce a written report on your research project of no more than 5,000 words. Two paper copies of the bound report should be submitted to the SEC Student Office (Sopwith Building) by the deadline (see below). Ask your supervisor about the type of binding that they prefer. One electronic copy should be uploaded to the Report portal in Assignments on the LS6014 Canvas site. The text of all three copies should be identical. Do not worry if Turnitin on Canvas appears to reformat the report as the electronic copy is used to check for plagiarism only. The hard copies of the report will be marked by your project supervisor and a designated second marker. A Drafts portal will be available on Canvas to submit report drafts for similarity checks, which will not be linked to the Turnitin depositary. Turnitin will generate

originality reports, with no limit to the number of submissions. You can submit more than once within a 24 hour period, but do be aware that the originality report for the second submission will not be generated immediately and will take 24 hours. Submission of work to Canvas by the deadline is final and there is no opportunity to resubmit so ensure that you submit the correct version. Include the word 'final' in the file name to make sure. In order to exempt your references section from the similarity check, you must head this section References. If you use another term, or incorrectly spell 'References', the section will be included by Turnitin in the plagiarism check and increase the similarity value. Do not include a page of contents as it is completely unnecessary for a report with a research paper structure and will also increase the similarity value.

Report formatting

  • be written in UK Oxford English (see Concise Oxford Dictionary);
  • be double-line spaced, although titles and text in tables and figures, and the references, can be single line spaced;
  • have margins not less than 2.5 cm;
  • be typed in 12 point Arial or Times Roman - ask your supervisor for their preference;be formatted as a Word document with numbered pages.

If you have very large images in your report such as phylogenetic figures, you may submit the report as a pdf, but check with your supervisor first. Note that images can be compressed in size. Marks will be deducted for failure to comply with all formatting and layout instructions.

The 5,000 word limit does not include the following: 🗷 cover page; 🗷 abstract; 🗷 tables and figures and their titles; 🗷 list of abbreviations (if used); 🗷 glossary (if used); 🗷 references list; 🗷 acknowledgements and appendices. The word limit does include: 🗹 written text in the report including in-text citations; 🗹 headings and subheadings.

Any text over 5,000 words will not be marked as there is no 10% margin. Define abbreviations at the point in the text where they are first mentioned and then use the abbreviation thereafter. You can include an abbreviations list if your supervisor considers this appropriate, but keep abbreviations to a minimum. It is very difficult for the reader to remember multiple abbreviations and some are not necessary. Use the International System of Units (SI units) such as ‘s’ for second - see

International System of Units from NIST

Essentials of the SI Introduction SI units and prefixes Units outside the SI Rules and style conventions. Background Definitions of the SI base units and their historical context International aspects of the SI Unit conversions

Writing names of organisms

Scientific names of organisms should be given as full binomial names in italics (e.g. Schistosoma mansoni) in full when first mentioned in the text and then as an abbreviation (e.g. S. mansoni). Taxonomic ranks: kingdom, phylum, order, class, family and names of clades are not italicised, but do begin with a capital letter (e.g. Schistosomidae). Nouns derived from taxonomic names, such as schistosomes or corvids, do not start with a capital letter and are not italicised. It is not necessary to give full binomial names of common laboratory animals like mice, rats and rabbits, but the strain of laboratory animal may be important and is usually included. Common names of animals do not begin with a capital letter, such as plains zebra, unless they start with a person's name such as Grant's zebra.

Tables and figures

Each table should be headed by a self-explanatory title and numbered consecutively (Table 1, Table 2, etc.). Avoid shading as it makes the table difficult to read so use the simplest format possible. Always produce your own tables. If you are summarising data from research articles, use summary points for each column. Your similarity score will be considerably increased if you copy and paste sentences from research papers. Indicate that a table is continued over a page or pages by the subheading 'Table x continued' and repeat the column headings on subsequent pages.

Each figure (graphs, images, diagrams) should have a self-explanatory title located below the figure and numbered consecutively (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.). Avoid double titles as Excel graphs and SPSS often provide a title, so ensure that you delete this. You should always refer to each table and figure in the text. The usual convention is to refer to the table or figure in parentheses at the end of the sentence, e.g. "Phylogenetic analysis showed that there were four main clades (Figure 1)." If you have used an image from a web page or research paper, always acknowledge the source (see Life Sciences Referencing Guide for details).

The citing and reference listing style must follow the guidelines for the Harvard reference format given in the on-line ‘Citethemright’ referencing guidance resource. Do not use any other Harvard styles, numerical referencing, bullet points or numbering in your references list. You can also use the referencing software Refworks, workshops for which will be available to help you use this. RefWorks can sometimes produce errors so you are responsible for checking that all in-text citations and listed references are correct. Each reference source should be cited in the text and listed in the References section so that they correspond in terms of author(s) and date of publication. Do not use a bibliography as this includes non-cited background references.

Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarism will result in deduction of marks and may lead to academic misconduct proceedings. Write in your own words, although retain scientific terminology. Spelling and grammar check Check your text carefully before you submit the report. Turn on Word spelling and grammar check and use SASC (SEC Academic Success Centre Sopwith Building 1019) to examine the presentation of your work.

Ensure that you back up your report and any data progressively and frequently at a minimum of three different places: your computer/laptop hard drive at home, your network H drive at University or your Box university account and your USB memory stick or portable hard drive. There have been several incidences of students losing their work before submission and having insufficient time to rewrite the report.

Two pieces of coloured card will be available from the SEC Student Office near to the date of submission. One piece of card is used as the cover page. A template will be emailed to you by the SEC Student Office which will require you to add the following information to the cover page.

  • Course title
  • Name
  • ID number
  • Project title
  • Date of submission
  • Name of the supervisor

The second piece of card is used as the back cover. You may use additional acetate sheets to protect the front and back covers if you wish. You do not need to have an additional title page or a table of contents. Avoid any decorative designs. Keep the page design simple as possible with a header of your K number and numbering at the base of the page.

The cover page template will include the name of the department that has administrative responsibility for your degree. The Department of Biomolecular Sciences administers Biomedical Science, Biochemistry and Medical Biochemistry degrees. The Department of Applied and Human Sciences administers Biological Sciences (all routes), Forensic Science and Forensic Biology degrees. The Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science administers the Pharmacology degree.

Layout of systematic review project reports

This structure has been modified from the methodology proposed for writing systematic reviews by Moher et al. (2010).


  • Brief background and rationale
  • Objectives
  • Summary of methods
  • Results obtained
  • Discussion - major conclusions and implication of key findings

The purpose of the abstract is to briefly summarise the main points of the project so that they could be understood by any interested reader. The abstract should form one double line spaced paragraph and should not contain subheadings or cited references. Only essential abbreviations should be included, which must be defined at first mention in the abstract. At the base of the abstract page, give the word count of the report without the exclusions listed on page 2 of these guidelines.


  • Explain what is known about the subject area and what is unknown using critical evaluation of background research literature to form an evidence-based justification (rationale) for the research project. Explain why it is important to systematically review the research question or test the hypothesis
  • Objectives – an explicit statement of the research question to be answered or the hypothesis to be tested with reference to populations/patients, interventions, comparisons and outcomes The hypothesis or research question must be as specific as possible. It is not sufficient to "further investigate" or "select effective drugstreatments" etc


Provide sufficient detail to allow the work to be reproduced, written in the past tense.

  • Study selection criteria – inclusion/exclusion factors
  • Data sources and search terms
  • Describe methods used for quality assessment (if applicable)
  • Any statistical analyses used (if applicable)


  • Briefly describe numbers of studies screened and selected with reference to a study selection flow diagram (PRISMA diagram)
  • Critical analysis of information and data using text, study characteristics tables and quality assessment tables (where appropriate) to highlight differences in data and quality of studies
  • Data should be originally presented to make new conclusions and arguments, do not copy and paste tables and graphs from research papers
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  • Summary of evidence – key findings that test the hypothesis or address the research question
  • How the findings compare to previously published research
  • Limitations of evidence
  • Conclusions and significance of the review for future research, policies and/or professional practice

A viva voce literally means by or with the living voice, i.e. by word of mouth instead of writing. Your report demonstrates your ability to present your research in writing. The viva demonstrates your ability to orally describe the research and participate in academic discussion of the research. The purpose of a viva is to confirm that the report is your own work and that you have understood what you have written and can defend it verbally. You should be able to explain how your research relates/compares to previous research in that subject area. The viva will be conducted and marked by your supervisor and a designated second marker who will ask the majority of the questions, and should not exceed 20 minutes in duration.

If you are well prepared then the viva examination can be a positive experience. Practice giving a brief summary of your research to friends and family and encourage them to ask you questions. You will be expected to have an awareness of the terminology that you have used, interpretation and explanation of your results, evaluation of your methods (strengths and weaknesses) and the application of your research in a wider context and how you have contributed to the research field (e.g. diagnosis, selection of drugs, evaluation of methodology, national and international policies). You should have familiarity with the research sources that you have used as the examiners may refer to them. The examiners may also ask how you would continue your work if you had funding and/or what you would do differently if you started again. You may take your report into the viva with you as you are not expected to memorise the report.

For further guidance you must attend the lectures on your project type. For writing systematic reviews the following publications are also useful. Boland A, Cherry MG and Dickson R. (2014) Doing a Systematic Review – a Student's Guide. SAGE Publications Ltd, London. Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, The PRISMA Group (2010) Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: The PRISMA statement. International Journal of Surgery 8: 336-341.

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